“After completing my BA in womenswear, I wasn’t satisfied with the amount of attention given to the presentation and communication side of creating a collection.” Australian-born Central Saint Martins graduate, Bianca Batson, says below, explaining the importance of contextualising her work and showcasing it within a fitting environment.
Combining her designs with a real appetite for photography, art and curation, Bianca presents her work as a holistic world, representing many facets of youth culture and suggesting a larger story about the repercussions that the political changes have had on the creative class in her newfound home in London.
This Thursday, the young designer will present her final MA collection as part of a special exhibition – alongside a zine release. Compiled of collages and photographs, the installation is set to resemble a dive bar in the midst of a music video shoot. The immersive experience will allow the audience to follow the filming of a campaign video featuring Bianca’s latest collection that conceptually references the notions of identity and belongingness.
Here we exclusively preview images from Bianca’s zine, titled 6 years 7 months and 21 days – the amount of time she will have been in London when her visa expires in April.
Undine Markus: Your recent work spans fashion design, photography, and writing. What prompted you to give equal attention to each one of the disciplines?
Bianca Batson: After completing my BA in womenswear, I wasn’t satisfied with the amount of attention given to the presentation and communication side of creating a collection. Well, it wasn’t what we were supposed to concentrate on, but I really think it’s so important. These days, it’s the branding and marketing that can really set someone apart. I’ve always loved taking photos. On my placement year for my BA, I had finished my internship at Ashish and was bored so I started documenting my friends and life.
Undine: How has studying womenswear informed your creative process across other mediums?
Bianca: I really dislike sketchbooks and prefer to work 3D and photograph my design progress. I work with piles and piles of paper and have collages for days. I ended up creating my book this way, the whole process seems to just work.
Undine: Tell us more about the curatorial process behind your first solo show, what are the artistic practices and themes that you are looking to explore?
Bianca: Originally, I was supposed to make a music video and the exhibition was going to be set up as one of the scenes. I am doing it backwards now. I am filming the campaign and music video at the exhibition. The idea is that the show is kind of immersive, the models will be hanging out with everyone so you can see everything up close and feel part of the show.
Undine: What’s the set-up going to be like?
Bianca: It’s not a typical gallery set up, I designed it to be a space that you can hang out in. I wanted it to feel like the local bar.
“…now Theresa May wants to kick us out upon graduating – it’s bollocks after contributing a ridiculous amount of money to the economy in tuition fees alone”
“You can’t expect change without a fight.”
Undine: There are clear references to Brexit and student fees in your zine, why did you want to address these issues and what are some of the most noticeable ways in which the recent changes in the political climate have affected your immediate community?
Bianca: Being an Australian student, I am on a visa that runs out in April next year. Previously, students had two years after graduating. Currently, it is four months and now Theresa May wants to kick us out upon graduating – it’s bollocks after contributing a ridiculous amount of money to the economy in tuition fees alone. Every decision I have made this year has been affected by the fact that unless I get a job where I am sponsored, I have to leave. I have to bear this in mind when applying for jobs and have even had to think of the best route to go down for this final major project. I then thought why not just explore this and all the other issues that are current.
Undine: Why do you believe it is important for our generation to continue voicing our opinion on the subject?
Bianca: It’s our generation that is going to bear the consequences of everything happening right now. You can’t expect change without a fight. It’s important to be reminded. We all know about Brexit and have probably seen many immigration headlines recently, but the more it’s discussed, the more people are made aware and the more likely things will change. This project is super personal and I am using the collection and exhibition as a platform for expressing all of it. It’s a great way to get people’s attention and make them think.
Undine: What else directly influences your work?
Bianca: Music and friends play a big part. Also, when Hedi Slimane was at Saint Laurent, as he had creative control from collection research right through to the final show. I think it’s really important to have continuity from production to branding and marketing.
Undine: What’s next for you?
Bianca: The collection will be available to pre-order online soon after the exhibition, so I’m working on that. I’m hoping to continue with freelance work and see where it all takes me.
Bianca will present her MA collection at 49-50 Poland Street, W1F 7NB on 30th November.
For more info visit Bianca’s website.